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Word Count: 1,004
The stimulus for a poets work is provided by their place in society in the environment and in the scheme of contemporary literature The poet may experience beauty be compelled to challenge an injustice or reflect on personal experiences As they live their life and become increasingly exposed to these stimuli they respond by writing poetry In the case of WH Auden an astonishingly diverse array of works is representative of an extensive range of experiences and ideological shifts in the poets life Critics divide Audens literary life into four phases In the first his poetry was shaped by the influence of his father in the second by the landscapes in which he lived in the third by his traveling the world and serving in a war and in the forth by the United States his new home Together these forces shaped the works of one of the greatest poets of the century Auden was born in York the son of a physician At first interested in science he soon turned to poetry In 1925 he entered Christ Church College University of Oxford where he became the center of a group of literary intellectuals that included Stephen Spender Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood C Day Lewis and Louis MacNeice His family moved to Birmingham just one year after his birth and it was there that his early interest in geology and landscapes began to develop He became fascinated with urban and industrial landscapes and created a private imaginary world composed of man-made limestone landscapes and deserted mines These images appear in one of Audens later poems In Praise of Limestone At the age of fifteen Auden discovered his poetic vocation He remains one of the few poets of the 20th century whose contemporary society recognized him as a master from the very beginning Having had a stable and loving childhood Audens earliest works included an abundance of images of warmth family and food In Profile Auden
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